Sunday, July 26, 2009

Her name is Agnes Lorrimer.


She refuses to sit in plastic folding chairs. She does not like the lines they make on her slacks, she says, so the aforementioned great grandson (Michael) and his father (Danny) carry one of the Queen Anne dining chairs out for her to sit on. She sits under the shade of the big cherry tree, with a glass of lemonade in one hand and a paper fan in the other.

The tree is older that all of them, older than the house behind her.

Noise is coming from above. The high pitched squeals of girls whose parents are more permissive than Agnes’s were (little girls did not climb trees when she was one such, regardless of their desire to).

Twelve year old Sophie jumps down from the tree. She hastily plants a kiss on Agnes's cheek. “Did you see that, Granna? Did you see how high I was? That was awesome!” Seven year old Madison starts wailing “Sophieeeeeee” from the branch she is afraid to get down from.

Agnes smiles as the daredevil runs off towards the tree and turns her focus to the other side of the lawn, where a gaggle of men (how many make a gaggle, she thinks it is six) surround a grill (she can't hear this, but they are trying to figure out which burgers are the veggie burgers and why George didn’t mark them when he put them on). Beloved Micheal breaks away from the group and walks toward her, lifting his hands in a gesture of hopelessness.

“I said to just give Karen a regular one and tell her it’s veggie, but Uncle George said she’d know, and he’d be the one to suffer for it.”

He throws himself on the ground and gazes at Anges. “How you doin', you gorgeous old lady?”

Agnes answers him with a tilt of her snowy head and a soft tiny hand under his chin. She raises his face and beams. He looks the most like her son, his grandfather when he was a boy (this boy is twenty-eight).

It is the fourth of July, and it is Agnes’s favorite holiday. Her family does this bigger than Christmas and Thanksgiving combined. As many as can make it travel to this old house in the Berkshires. It has been years since anyone has asked Agnes why she loves this particular holiday so much more than the others, and she wouldn’t tell them the real reason even if they did ask.

"I am wonderful, dear. Wonderful."

1 comment:

Hannah said...

i feel a little like i'm reading an anita shreve novel....that's a good thing! :)